welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in north america and around the globe. my name is gavin grey. our top stories: violent clashes as polls close in venezuela's divisive election. the us calls it a step towards a dictatorship. president putin confirms 755 us diplomatic personnel must stop working in russia — many will be expelled by september 1. us bombers fly over the korean peninsula in response to pyongyang's latest missile test. and british royals lead commemorations to mark 100 years since the start of the battle of passchendaele. hello. first, to venezuela, where polls have closed
in a controversial election to choose a new parliament which will have the power to rewrite the country's constitution. the day saw several killings and violent clashes. opposition groups boycotted the vote, saying it's another power—grab by president maduro, whom they blame for venezuela's deep economic crisis. the us has called the vote a "sham" and are considering imposing sanctions. results are expected in about an hour. katie watson reports from caracas. the sense of celebration here made it easy to forget for a moment the dark times venezuela is going through. but for the people waiting to vote, the problems are real. lisbeth told me she's voting for peace for our children and future of the country. antonio said he's here to ensure there is more food and medicine for people. late president hugo chavez looms large in this part of caracas, on the walls it's his face, not president maduro‘s you can see. but mr maduro wants to continue his legacy. he says a new assembly that could rewrite the constitution
is the only way to bring peace to the country. the opposition boycotted the vote today. instead, many came out onto the streets to keep up the pressure against the government. carlos is a university student and part of what's known as the resistance, playing his part in the protest movement by blocking roads, because he says he wants a better venezuela. everything that we can find here, we use to protect us, because this is, as i say, it a critical situation. they are shooting us, they are killing people. there are more than 100 people that are dead. as police gathered on the other side of the street barricades, the protesters got ready for another confrontation. people here can't quite understand how such a rich country has got to this point. the political and economic crisis has never been so bad. but the feeling is here it willjust get worse. that much was clear — just a few metres from here, a police convoy was hit by improvised explosives.
the government says the opposition are terrorists. the protesters say they are fighting against a government that is becoming increasingly repressive. from this part of town, the vote was almost irrelevant. people here are worried about politics, about food shortages and spiralling inflation. much of that is stoking the anger. protesters keep building the blockades. the police keep trying to destroy them. divisions here are so deep in venezuela, neither side is backing down. katie watson, bbc news, in caracas. earlier, we spoke to 0tto reich, former us ambassador to venezuela and i asked him what he thought about the vote. it is a power grab, there's no question about it. it is an attempt to completely take over the rest of the national power that is not already in the hands of the central government. the only reason he is doing this
is because they lost, the government lost the election two years ago for the assembly and the opposition gained control of the assembly for the first time in many years. but the government has control the executive branch, the judiciary completely, and they had control of the legislative branch butt they lost it and so maduro is trying to take over the entire government and control it with absolutely position and no freedom... what should the us and other major powers be doing to try and put a little bit of pressure on the president? i hope more than a little bit of pressure. what is happening in venezuela is a self coup. the government of venezuela is taking over the entire government, eliminating the possibility of democracy in that country and, actually, many countries already — i am very happy to hear that the european union, the government of spain, the governments of peru, colombia, panama, chile, the unite states and others have said they will not recognise
this sham election. —— united states. it is completely fraudulent and what i hope the us will do is cut off the flow of funds to the autocracy that has been running venezuela into the ground for the last 18 years. you have served under president george w bush in 2001. do you think donald trump will do that in 2017? i would hope so. he said he would. 0n the 17th ofjuly this month, president trump said that if maduro went through with this effort to completely turn venezuela into a dictatorship through this fraudulent constituent assembly, that the us would impose swift and heavy economic sanctions. and i would hope that he would. there were fewer protests on the street than some had expected
but, i suppose, with the opposition party asking for a boycott and the fear of violence, that is probably not a surprise. well, not only that, you are right, the fact is maduro‘s armed forces and hired guns, what they call the ‘colectivos‘, which are just thugs, ordinary street thugs, that they have organised into government support battalions, have been killing people. 16 people were killed today. you are right, there were fewer people on the streets today because it is just natural self protection. people don't want to go out on the street and get killed. they have already been protesting for 110 days and they have lost about 130 people. they are afraid of this government and with good reason. otto
0tto reich, there. president vladimir putin has confirmed that 755 staff from us diplomatic missions are to be expelled from russia by september 1. he added that further sanctions were being considered. the move is retaliatory, coming after us sanctions on russia were overwhelmingly approved by both houses of congress on tuesday. looking at these moves, greg dawson reports. on a day when russia was once again flexing its military muscle, on this occasion a navy parade in st petersburg, vladimir putin was getting ready to play his hand in a diplomatic tussle with us. more than 700 staff ordered to leave their diplomatic missions, this is thought to be the largest expulsion from any country in modern history. it is a delayed retaliation after president 0bama expelled russian diplomatic staff from the us, last year. president putin said he'd been waiting and hoping to see if relations with
washington would improve. those hopes were squashed by the us congress last tuesday, when, despite white house objections, it voted overwhelmingly to impose new sanctions on moscow for interfering in last november's election, something russia. has always denied. it was the last drop. if the us side decides to move further towards further deterioration, we will answer, we will respond in kind. we will mirror this. we will retaliate. but my call and my whole point is, do not do this. of course, donald trump also denies any collusion with russia in his election, but on a visit to estonia, his deputy was keen to reaffirm the administration has been no soft touch when it comes to moscow. the president has made it very clear that russia's destabilising activities, its support for rogue regimes, its activities in ukraine are unacceptable and the president made it clear that very soon he will sign the sanctions from the congress of the united states
to reinforce that. since coming to office, donald trump has made no secret of his desire to improve relations with russia, but with this expulsion and a bill on his desk to approve further sanctions, it now looks like a fading ambition. greg dawson, bbc news. earlier i spoke to steve fish politics professor at the university of california, berkeley. relations between the unite states and russia most definetly lie in tatters. they have been in tatters for quite some time and they've been getting worse. but this does seem to represent a new low, in terms of relations. it is hard to see how much lower they can go, although president putin says this will not be the last thing he does. —— it is hard to see how much lower they can go,
although president putin says this will not be the last thing he does. he's talking about taking other measures which he has not specified so far, against the united states, in addition to these diplomatic expulsions. we're used to the sort of tit—for—tat dealing of a handful of diplomats or diplomatic staff here or there but 755! that is an awful lot. these things tend to be kind of symbolic but something on this magnitude is going to have some effect. at the same time, there is something really symbolic about this as well. it is not like that expelling diplomatic staff somehow undermines us in any major way internationally — it is going to undermined the ability of russians to get visas to come to the us in anything less than maybe months. this is actually going to have negative inplications for russians. the bigger deal though is that he's trying to express great displeasure with what has happened in the united states. look, putrin made a big bet on president trump. trump views the world largely like he does. trump likes putin. he seemed to be in favour of much better relations,
and putin still likes trump, he still appreciates that. it's just that now he sees that donald trump is no longer in charge of policy towards russia, the us congress has taken charge of that policy. so putin's back to where he was before donald trump came along and we will see a kind of renewal of anti—american rhetoric in the russian media, that will kind of return to the way it was during the 0bama administration. that was steve fish. president trump has said he's "very disappointed" with china for not doing more to stop north korea's weapons programme following pyongyang's second intercontinental ballistic missile in a month. from tokyo, here's rupert wingfield—hayes. the unmistakable shape of an american b—1 bomber, sweeping low over south korea this afternoon. this is president trump's pointed response to north korea's latest missile test. it was accompanied by an equally pointed rant on twitter. "i am very disappointed in china", the president tweeted. "they do nothing for us with north korea, just talk. "we will no longer allow this to continue."
china today has been showing off its own military might, in a huge parade overseen by president xijinping. he has condemned north korea's launch, but china is not prepared to bring pyongyang to its knees, even though it probably could. north korea, meanwhile, is making the most of its success. pictures of friday's missile launch are being played over and over. and, once again, kimjong—un is the star of the show. this latest missile test represents a profound challenge to president donald trump. he put a lot of hope in getting china to rein in pyongyang. he now appears to have accepted that is not going to happen. but the us president has explicitly stated he will not allow north korea to acquire the ability to strike the united states with nuclear weapons. well, that is now very close. the rising tension is making people
here increasingly nervous. air raid siren in a village in northern japan, a siren shatters the morning calm. "a missile is heading in this direction", the announcer says. "ta ke cover. " practice drills like this are now happening all along this coast. translation: it's very scary, i don't know where to run to if there is a missile strike. i need practice like today's drill to learn what to do. off the same coast last month, the most powerful us armada to be seen here in decades. a military strike on north korea may seem unthinkable, but pyongyang and washington are locked in an increasingly dangerous game and there are no good choices for how to end it. rupert wingfield—hayes, bbc news, in tokyo. stay with us on bbc news. still to come... wall to wall: how a group of polish artists have been inspired
to take their political views to the public. cheering the air space agency nasa has ordered an investigation after confirmation today that astronauts were cleared to fly while drunk. the last foot patrol in south armargh, once an everyday part in the soldiers‘ lot, drudgery in danger now no longer after almost four decades. if someone is in a private house, not doing any harm to anyone, i don't really see why all these people should wander
in and say you're doing something wrong. six rare white lion cubs are on the prowl. they have been met with a roar of approval from visitors. they are lovely and sweet. yeah, really cute. this is bbc news. our main headline: several people have been killed in venezuela in violence surrounding the divisive election for a new assembly to rewrite the constitution. president putin confirms 755 us diplomatic personnel must stop working in russia. many will be expeued diplomatic personnel must stop working in russia. many will be expelled by diplomatic personnel must stop working in russia. many will be expelled by september diplomatic personnel must stop working in russia. many will be expelled by september one. ceremonies have taken place in belgium to mark the centenary of the battle of passchendaele, one of the bloodiest of the first world war. 500,000 allied and german soldiers were killed, wounded or went missing injust three months of fighting. the duke and duchess of cambridge joined the prime minister, theresa may, as two days
of commemorations to mark the start of the battle got under way, as robert hall reports. last post sounds this is a city that has dedicated itself to remembrance. the fireman of ypres have sounded the last post for the missing, in the heat of summer and the snows of winter, as the decades rolled by. around them, carved into the great arch of the menin gate, over 511,000 names, men from every corner of the uk, men who travelled across the globe to join the fight, men who disappeared in the cauldron
around passchendaele. with the sounding of this bugle call, the 250,000 british and commonwealth soldiers who were killed on the ypres salient during the first world war are remembered. the defence of the city, at such great cost, meant that it became hallowed ground. # 0h, valient hearts who to your glory came... on this evening in the summer of 1917, the third battle of ypres had already begun. but early success was swallowed by the rain, weeks of it, which slowed the advance. passchendaele, the final target of the attack, came to symbolise death and misery,
in a muddy wasteland where many still lie. gosh, i didn't think it would be that moving. dorothy and her cousin peter were here to remember their grandfather. you'll need to take a photo of me. they are among 200 invited guests with personal connections to the battle. that word on there is as close to a body as we're ever going to get for our grandfather. the ethos behind building this was for people to say he is here. and in a way he's here, but in a way he's not here. in flanders fields, the poppies blow between the crosses... in ypres main square, dame helen mirren spoke the words of the war poetjohn mccrae, trying to express the horror he witnessed. the larks still bravely singing fly,
scarce heard amid the guns below. i was in the front—line trench at passchendaele. winston churchill wanted the ruins of ypres left as a memorial. tonight, meticulously rebuilt, they told the story of men now gone, and a century on, a marching column once more wound its way up the street to the hall where so many still lie. robert hall, bbc news, ypres. children in china suffering from terminal illnesses will often receive little or no palliative care. some may even be abandoned by their parents, desperate but unable to help them. one woman is helping some of those children in the city of changsha. that's nice. the main difficulties were trying to get people to understand that we weren't killing children,
that we weren't not fighting for them. my name's lyn gould. i'm the co—founder and ceo of butterfly children's hospices. we provide and pioneer palliative care for children. when we first moved to china, to care for adults with blossoming, care for children was virtually non—existent. so we had to start from a very basic level, where there was completely no understanding about what we were trying to do. culturally, of course, it's considered really bad if you don't fight for your child's life, right up until the moment they die. families will feel criticised. so, if you talk about palliative care, people immediately think about you're giving up. whereas, actually, you're not giving up,
you're just adding quality. you're adding life to the days that the child might have left. we kept seeing parents who had abandoned their children at the gates of an orphanage, and you realise that families have tried everything within their means to get a cure for that child, or to get help for the child, and it's only after a lot of heartache that they decide they cannot do any more. it's just at the point where a child is the most needy. to see the child and family separated was just heartbreaking. what's relatively easy to deal with is their physical symptoms, what's more difficult
to deal with is the effects of their abandonment. and there's that huge sense of loss, that confusion, that hurt, that mummy and daddy aren't there anymore, what have i done to deserve that? and so we have to work very hard to teach the staff the importance of touch, the importance of speaking gently, the importance of cuddles, so that we can start to give the child the will to live, the will to eat. and, even if they can't live a long time, they will know that they're loved, they will know that they've been touched, that they were worthy of somebody loving them. and the first time a child smiles, that's like — you know, we've achieved something really terrific here. when the child has gone, the nannies will wash the body.
put them in some beautiful clothes. maybe give them one of their favourite toys, and then just wrap them in a piece of material covered in butterflies. and then...we carry on. when you think of street art, you probably think of banksy, the mysterious british painter renowned for his politically charged work. now, a group of polish artists have been inspired to do something similar, but for their canvas, they have chosen the tiny village of staro zhelezare, in bulgaria. the bbc‘s tim allman has more. in this particular part of central bulgaria, art meets politics meets agriculture. these polish painters, coming into town on the back of a tractor, wave banners saying, "long live peasant art." this may seem a strange place to make such a statement, but they are thinking big.
they have painted the walls of the village with a combination of celebrities, world leaders, and some of the locals. president trump appears to be having a conversation with a cow. queen elizabeth is sharing a bench with a local woman. and even a former president wants to spend a moment or two shooting the breeze. translation: let's imagine barack 0bama or donald trump sitting on a bench with an old lady from this village, and talking about something important, about life, about politics. there is a point to all of this. the village has a population of less than 500, a fraction of what it was before the collapse of the soviet union. the artists are hoping their public murals can boost tourism and help revitalise the area. actually, it's my first time in bulgaria, and i feel really great. because actually i can't compare this place to any other around the world, i've been to.
some of the locals seem impressed, or maybe bemused. either way, the writing, and the art, is on the wall. tim allman, bbc news. now we will leave you with some images from sunday night's events to remember the battle of passchendaele. hello there, good morning. with all the energy and the instability in the atmosphere over the past 2a hours, we've seen a lot of heavy and thundery downpours. northern ireland, for one, has been battered by some storms earlier on, so too across parts of scotland, some fierce looking clouds here. and we've had about a month's worth of rain at okehampton, in devon, due to some peninsular showers. now, there will be some more showers over the coming few days. we've still got this ever—present area of low pressure to the north—west of the uk. closer you are to that, the more showers there will be. but gradually, over the next two days, whilst there will be some showers and some sunshine, the showers should become fewer. let's head into the morning, though, and we've still got some showers left over, actually, from overnight in scotland.
quite a cloudy start here. maybe the north—west of england. sunshine and showers into northern ireland. the other side of the pennines, across the midlands, it may well be a bright and sunny start, but already a few showers running in to western fringes of wales, perhaps the far south—west of england, towards the coast this time. whereas you move towards the south—east and east anglia, those earlier showers will big gone. it will be a bright and sunny start. this picture was actually taken yesterday at the oval. good day for martin, there, and if you're going to watch the cricket, it should be exciting and it should be dry, actually. just a very small chance of a shower, not quite as breezy as today. there'll be some sunshine and it will be warm into that sunshine too. for many southern parts of the uk, there will be very few showers around at all. wales, up across the midlands, northern england, catching a few showers running through. not as widespread, the showers, as we saw yesterday. but there will be some slow—moving heavy thundery downpours across northern ireland and into scotland, maybe some hail as well. so 17 or 18 degrees here, at best 23
towards the south—east of england. tuesday sees some further showers across the uk. but even further north, those showers not as widespread. there will still be one or two heavy ones around, but very much hit—and—miss. again, towards the south—east likely to stay dry, with some sunshine. the jetstream is all—importa nt, of course, and normally it is sitting at this time of the year between scotland and iceland. but right now it's much, much further south, hence this very unsettled weather. as we head towards the middle part of the week, the jet stream will pick up another area of low pressure, rush it across the atlantic, and head it towards the uk. things turning wetter from the south—west, slowly but surely, on wednesday. many areas ahead of that seeing some sunshine, a few showers perhaps in scotland. that rain, though, arriving across northern and eastern areas during the evening and on wednesday night. goodbye.
this is bbc news. the headlines: in venezuela, there have been violent protests against a controversial election to choose a new parliament. opposition groups boycotted the vote which will give the assembly the power to rewrite the constitution. the us called the reform a "sham" and promised "strong and swift" action. president putin has confirmed that some us diplomatic staff will be expelled and that 755 diplomatic personnel have been asked to stop working in moscow. he added that further sanctions were being considered. the new measures are in retaliation for proposed new us sanctions on moscow. the united states has stepped up its response to north korea's latest missile launch. two us air force bombers have flown directly over the region. america's missile defence system in south korea has also been tested. now on bbc news, to mark hardtalk‘s 20th anniversary,